Despite a 2-11 start to the 2013 season, the Red Wings are returning to the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
Eduardo Escobar had four hits and drove in five runs, leading the Red Wings to a 13-3 win over the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders Monday at Frontier Field. Norfolk lost 1-0 to Durham in 10 innings Monday giving Rochester the wild card spot via tie-breaker.
The Wings will face Pawtucketat 7:05 p.m. at Frontier Field on Wednesday night in Game 1 of the best-of-five first round series. Game 2 is Thursday at Frontier with games 3-5 the next three days in Pawtucket.
Veteran big league outfielder Corey Patterson jumped on the second pitch he saw from Scott Diamond and deposited it over the wall in right field for an early 1-0 RailRiders' lead.
Scranton starter Caleb Cotham came into Monday's game with either a win or a no decision over his last 10 starts, and the RailRiders had won the last seven games Cotham had started. On Monday, The Red Wings quickly off-set the Patterson home run, and then some.
Antoan Richardson started the Rochester first by taking a Cotham pitch off the foot. James Beresford drilled a double to the gap in left-center, putting runners at second and third. That's when Escobar doubled to right field, scoring both runners and putting the Wings ahead 2-1.
Chris Parmelee followed with a single, and Jeff Clement lined an RBI single to plate Escobar and give the home team a 3-1 edge. Aaron Hicks walked to load the bases, and a sacrifice fly by Eric Farris brought in another run and the Wings led 4-1. Ray Olmedo's single made it 5-1.
With two outs in the first, Richardson lined a single to left that brought home Hicks and Rochester had batted around while jumping out to a 6-1 lead. Beresford's second hit of the inning padded the lead to 7-1. Escobar hit his second two-run double of the inning, making the score 9-1, and marking the end of Cotham's day. Jim Miller was summoned from the Scranton bullpen to take over on the mound, and got a fly out to end the eight-hit, nine-run inning.
After a long break watching his teammates rack up nine runs, Diamond needed just five pitches to retire the RailRiders in the second inning. Diamond was helped by a nice defensive play by Beresford, who ranged far to his right to snag a ground ball hit by Alberto Gonzales.
The Wings loaded the bases with two outs in the second inning, thanks in part to a ground rule double from Olmedo. But Miller got a fly ball out from Richardson to escape the jam.
Scranton loaded the bases in the top of the third inning after three straight singles off Diamond. A Brent Lillibridge single drove in two runs to make it a 9-3 game with two runners on, but the next batter quickly added another footnote to this memorable Red Wings season.
Adonis Garcia grounded sharply to Olmedo at third base, and Olmedo stepped on the bag for the first out. Olmedo threw to Beresford at second base for the second out, and Beresford's quick relay to first base beat Garcia to complete the triple play. Rochester's last triple play was also turned at Frontier Field, with Gil Velazquez and Garrett Jones combining for the outs.
Escobar added to his big day with a one-out home run in the third inning; it was Escobar's third homer in his last nine games. A single by Farris later in the inning brought in another run, and prompted a pitching change with Matt Daley relieving Miller on the mound for Scranton. Olmedo greeted Daley with an infield single off the glove of Lillibridge at first base, and Rochester led 12-3. It was Olmedo's third hit of the game.
Diamond (4-0) allowed seven hits and three earned runs, with two walks and two strikeouts. Virgil Vasquez did not allow a hit in the eighth and ninth innings.
Eric Fryer hit his fifth home run of the season in the eighth inning to extend the lead to 13-3.
When Olmedo caught a pop up from Bobby Wilson in foul territory at 3:42 p.m., the victory and playoff spot was secured.
Olmedo and Richardson each finished with three hits, as part of a 18-hit Rochester offense. It tied the single game high for hits in a game by the Wings (Aug. 23 vs. Indianapolis).